Queens Economic Development Corporation, local groups help promote small businesses on Valentine’s Day

Photo courtesy of the QEDC

Queen’s Economic Development Corporation’s #MadeInQueens program has joined forces with 43 other business boosters across New York City to deliver messages of love and support to small businesses via the Sweethearts Shop Local program, which runs through Valentine’s Day. 

#SmallBusinessSweetie came about when graduates of the Coro Neighborhood Leadership Program, whose mission is to learn how New York City works and improve it, recently celebrated their 10th anniversary. Many of the participating nonprofits are led by Coro grads.

“This initiative is raising awareness about the importance of shopping locally and supporting small businesses,” said Leslie Ramos, executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership.“By doing so, we help preserve jobs and protect our local economy.”

MiQ, which promotes Queens makers and manufacturers by sharing their stories and providing opportunities for new and existing businesses to grow and flourish, is asking the general public to buy products from the following list below and promote them on social media channels with the #SmallBusinessSweetie slogan. 

Callio Fragrance creates perfumes in a wide range of scents and also gift cards, sets and travel packages. Callio Fragrance was launched in 2011 by Melissa Gibson, who has been known to spend hours at her favorite beauty stores testing everything and anything. She began blending her own fragrances over 10 years and after being asked constantly what fragrance she was wearing, she left her corporate job and launched Callio Fragrance. 

Culiraw whips up raw vegan desserts. Plus, free decoration on nine-inch Valentine’s Day cakes. Culiraw’s desserts are only made of natural, organic ingredients. Most of them have only cashews, walnuts, dates, cacao and coconut oil. Its desserts also include spices like vanilla and cinnamon and fresh fruit to add more flavor. To boost nutritional value, matcha, maca, goji, chia seeds and açai are added. No use of sugar or artificial sweeteners. 

Lavender Works was founded by Marina and her autistic son, Joseph Horan. To date, Lavender Works has sold thousands of sachets, lavender sprays and bags of all-natural laundry soap in and around the community. Marina and Joseph are proud to provide individuals with autism an opportunity to work at a job they enjoy and the products they create.

MumsKitchens NYC is a bakery and catering business that sells brownies, cookies, bars and Caribbean treats available in special gift boxes. MumsKitchens NYC strives to ensure each product is made to the highest standards using only the finest of ingredients, never using preservatives or additives! They are known for their high levels of customer service, unique flavor profiles and products that are in a word: different.

My Works of Art was founded by Susan Varo, a self-taught visual artist with a strong artistic background. Always fascinated with color and design, she began drawing cartoons, animals and portraits and her artwork was quickly recognized by her teachers and peers. My Works of Art is a solely-owned, oil-painting company offering an array of products. The client will be able to select from an eclectic-online gallery or commission artwork if you so choose. Professional art services are what you should come to expect for artwork you wish to own or give as a gift.

R+D Designs creates fun, kitschy, 3D-printed jewelry and is introducing its new “Keep it Simple, Cupid” collection. Its designs range from minimalist dangles and local landmarks, to Beyoncé in her “Single Ladies” video and flamingos that turn pink. R+D offers inexpensive jewelry that can be easily customized. There are dozens of designs to choose from, each capturing the lively, whimsical spirit of our brand. The jewelry makes for a great gift or a lovely treat for yourself.

Raw Bliss Balls is an all-female, Brooklyn-based raw snack company that wants to do nothing more than create high quality snacks that not only taste great, but are great for you. Everything they make is 100 percent raw, plant-based, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free which is a lot of ways of saying they’re really good for you. Oh, and they come in four delicious flavors.

Sandra Smith’s inspirational bags and decor are handmade from start to finish in Queens by creative designer Sandra and her growing team of local women. From heartfelt messages to motivational decor, Smith’s products focus on the meaningful and give people the feels. Sandra Smith’s is partnered with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and 2 percent of every sale is donated toward creating a culture of zero tolerance for domestic violence. 

Sathē is a clothing and lifestyle brand in which the products are made by resettled refugee and immigrant tailors in NYC. The company’s mission is to provide economic opportunities for refugee and immigrant artisans that have tailoring skills, while connecting customers more closely to the products. They promote socially conscious fashion, in that the customer knows exactly who and where their products are made, and that the majority of the product’s cost is provided to the tailor. 

Scent by Heaven offers a line of unique scented candles, eco-friendly air fresheners, and linen fresheners that last. Their products include natural soy wax candles, parasoy candles, and aromatherapy products like lotions and liquid smudging. New sales and items are posted every day. Bring home a little bit of heaven, because it’s Scent by Heaven.

Tembo’s tote bags are a fashion forward, fair-trade made, sustainable shopping solution that’s good for mother earth. From the immigrant women who sew their products, to the historic meaning of their classic prints, Tembo’s bags embody the stories of women empowerment and African folklore. Its fabrics are inspired by Africa, made with a technique derived from Indonesia and designed in the Netherlands, reflecting a global melting pot of beauty and craftsmanship. In partnership with the Artisan Sewing Co-op, Tembo’s products are fair-trade made in Queens by immigrant, refugee and asylee women.